Start in your own backyard
Water is a precious resource needed by all living things. Anyone who cares for a yard or garden can help protect water resources by being wise about watering practices, starting in your own backyard.
Learning what, when, where and how to water is key to growing healthy plants and conserving this important resource for life.
Find best practices for watering gardens, lawns, shrubs and trees on the Water Wisely tips page.
Some basic advice to get you started:
- Select plants that will thrive in existing soil type, light, and space
- Collect and use rainwater to water plants
- Water evergreens until the ground freezes
- Water in early morning to allow leaves to dry and reduce diseases
- Mulch plants to conserve moisture
- Use sensors and smart controllers on automated irrigation systems
- Water deeply, but less often, to encourage root growth and drought tolerance
Written by Extension Master Gardeners, "The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites" is a downloadable publication offering solutions for locations that call for tough, durable plants. Included are hard-to-find plant lists of special traits and useful characteristics such as: self-seeding, fragrance, long-blooming, minimal litter trees. Here is a small sample:
- Dry soil: Annual foliage plants (176 K PDF)
- Dry soil: Shade or under trees (150 K PDF)
- Dry soil: Trees (209 K PDF)
- Raingarden plants (247 K PDF)
- Septic mound plants (186 K PDF)
- Steep slopes (180 K PDF)
Trees and Shrubs
- Watering newly planted trees and shrubs
- Watering established trees and shrubs
- How much does it cost to water this tree?
- Flood stress on trees
Calendars for lawns and gardens
Timing can be critical to successful gardening. Wondering when you should sow seeds? Plant perennials? Fertilize your flowers? The Upper Midwest Sustainable Home Garden Care calendar provides provides best and second-best timing for tasks common to gardens in Minnesota and surrounding states. After consulting the calendar, follow up with U of M Extension publications about your particular plant or garden issue. For lawns, visit the Upper Midwest Sustainable Lawn Care calendar.